Over the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic shift in the water industry’s adoption of smart water infrastructure. Utilities are finding increasing value in data. They have started to truly understand water consumption by reading meters more and more frequently – from quarterly meter reads, to monthly, to hourly, and in some cases, every 15 minutes. The technology capable of delivering this granular data is called AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) and it enables meter reading over the airwaves. AMI eliminates the need for walking or driving to every house in the community to get a read. The latest AMI meters and equipment are reliable, with long battery lives and robust construction.
When utilities can access this level of granularity about where, when, and why water is being used, it opens up new ways to operate – and it enables utilities to become proactive, and meet rising customer expectations. Utility managers can better track and address non-revenue water – the difference between the amount of water that is treated and pumped into the system, and the amount of water that is actually paid for and delivered to the tap, after leaks and billing discrepancies. Utility managers can prioritize which distribution assets need the most attention. Additionally, utilities can better engage with customers by delivering information to them in near real time, naturally leading to better control over water bills.
Wouldn’t it be nice!
AMI and all its promises become available just by installing new meters and a few radio towers, correct? Sorry, but no. The trouble with that approach is that the useful information gets lost in an overwhelming sea of data. AMI, at its heart, isn’t just a metering project. It is a distributed IT deployment – where getting to actionable information requires a proactive utility to simultaneously execute a host of additional software deployments and operations to make sense of the new deluge of data. AMI is so much more than a combination of transmitters, receivers, registers, endpoints, collectors, and head-end software. AMI for water utilities is anchored in outcomes. It’s all about getting results from the information generated from these systems.
Deployment can easily cost millions of dollars, and turning a vast amount of data into meaningful action is not simple. We can all afford the AMI equipment, but the operational systems and services that make the data usable is something none of us should have to pay for, figure out, and execute alone. FATHOM believes we should do it together, as a community of utilities.
FATHOM Smart Grid for Water snaps on to makes data actionable – delighting your customers, staff, and councils in the process.
FATHOM deploys smart meters for its community of utilities, and plugs directly into a smart meter manufacturer’s software. FATHOM then converts the raw data into meaningful insights using its leading meter data management platform. By taking on customer service, meter performance analytics, billing, and the creation of an easy-to-use customer portal, FATHOM helps utilities capture revenue lost in the system and engage with customers without having to develop each and every module in house.
Small to mid-size municipalities can leverage economies of scale to deploy AMI through FATHOM’s Smart Grid for Water. It’s in use in over 150 public water systems, and it reads and processes data from over 4 million meters each day. Utilities can often pay for a system-wide AMI retrofit by leveraging FATHOM capital financing and tying it to the projected savings of a multi-year, managed services contract – which often significantly offsets the cost, or in some cases, fully pays for itself.
AMI is not just a smart meter or a software system or services. It takes all three, effectively working together. FATHOM takes it a step further, allowing utilities to make more intelligent choices on how to use the data they get from AMI; tackling water loss, managing assets, and delighting customers in the process – all delivered as a service!